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Feeling REALLY discouraged?

  1. Dec 23, 2013 #1
    First things first, I am a college Freshman. I have always loved Math and I was pretty good at it in high school (got A's and B's) and I I am majoring in it. However, I got to college and had a hard time adjusting to "college math", and I didn't study the way I should have.

    I had taken a class over the summer, and the professor really inspired me/got me interested in Math. I did well in her class, but when the semester started, the Calc tests were hard for me and I received a D in the class. My other classes were good, but not Calc. Obviously, I was not happy with myself, so I am retaking the class and changing the way I study. I feel like I understand the material, but I just didn't test well and had a hard time adjusting to what college Math was going to be like.

    I had wanted to get my Masters and PhD in Math, and become a professor one day. Now I'm really discouraged and don't know what to think anymore.... Help?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 24, 2013 #2


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    You'll need to develop more persistence in the face of adversity if you plan on actually finishing college. Things happen, don't let it get you down.

    It sounds like you've identified potential issues and need to work on resolving them.
  4. Dec 24, 2013 #3
    There could be a lot of different things going on here. The instructor may have instructed in a way that just didn't work for you. They may not have been a very good teacher (I use Rate My Professor to get an idea of that in advance). It may have been the shift from trig to calculus that got you. Regardless, don't let one single class discourage you. Everyone hits bumps here and there for one reason or another, no matter how talented they are at a given field of study.

    To fill you in on my own personal experience... My pre-calc/trig. professor kept telling us how Calc I wouldn't be too bad, but that Calc II was the difficult one. When I first started Calc I, it took me a bit to wrap my mind around the concepts. I always excelled at math without having to study much, so it was of course a bit discouraging for me to have to actually put serious effort into understanding it outside of class.

    I finished Calc I with an A, but it definitely took me a modest amount of effort. It also made me nervous about Calc II since I was told it was harder. However, I felt Calc II was ridiculously easy, despite most of my classmates struggling with it. So, we all have our strengths and weaknesses.

    Calc is all about practice and is relatively study-intensive. No matter how well you understand the concepts, you need that hands-on experience.

    Also, to give you an idea of just how different a course can be based on instructors... For my calc II course, I spent 2hrs studying for my final. Conversely, for physics, I knew his exams were much more difficult, so I spent about 15hrs over the weekend studying for it. Despite the extra studies, I STILL got a higher grade on the calc final compared to the physics final. This seemed to be the norm for most of my classmates as well, as the class average for calc was 75 whereas for physics it was 55.

    So, there are lots of factors to look at here. Just put the time and effort in, utilize your college's math tutors/professors, spend lots of time working on various problems from your book, and you should do fine.
  5. Dec 24, 2013 #4
    The above poster is correct. Sometimes the teachers are terrible. Long ago I took a geometry course in college and I was not understanding the lectures. It made me want to change my major from Math to History. I got a section change into another geometry class and I understood the material. I ended up getting an A. My best advice is to learn how to read a math book and not rely on the instructors too much. Sometimes you get lucky and get a marvelous teacher. The point I am tryng to make is learn how to help yourself. Sometimes in math certain topics go over your head and that is ok. The important thing is that you spend time to finally comprehend the material.
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